matter to anyone. If she had dropped dead carrying water back from the well, people would barely have noticed.

For one, she’s a woman in a culture that viewed women as less than fully human. They had few rights and were considered practically property. She’s a Samaritan. Samaritans were pretty much despised by surrounding peoples, especially the Jews. But, in His amazing way, Jesus transforms this woman‘s life; and simultaneously He models the sort of personal witnessing to which He calls us. What’s He show us?

First, that

1. Christ’s witnesses connect with thirsty people. (1-15)

The account exemplifies how Jesus met people on their own turf. Jesus knew what we need to learn. Harvesters must get in the field. Fishermen go where the fish are. Someone said, "Fishing in your bathtub might be terribly convenient, but it’s not highly effective."

That’s the difference between us expecting people to come to us, and going to them. Jesus had 132 contacts with people in the gospels. Six were in the Temple, four in the synagogues. All the others were out in life situations. One of the accusing comments the religious leaders threw at Jesus, was He connected with people they considered down-and-outers -- outcasts -- little people, rejects in their religious culture.

How does Jesus connect here? He begins by crossing barriers to demonstrate her value. First, Jesus crossed cultural barriers. Verse 4 says Jesus had to go through Samaria. That statement is true geographically, but it wasn’t true culturally. Samaria was straight north if a traveler was headed to Galilee. But no self-respecting Jew would travel throught Samaria. The proper Jew would cross over the Jordan, then go north, then back west to get to his destination.

The Samaritans were a mixed race and they mixed worship of God with pagan rituals. After Jews were deported to Assyria, the Assyrians repopulated areas with captives from other countries to settle the territory and keep the peace. Those new peoples intermarried with the few Jews left and formed the mixed race. So the Jews hated the Samaritans because they weren’t pure and felt they’d betrayed their religious heritage. Jesus had to go through Samaria, to keep divine appointments.

Jesus crossed social barriers.
Two odd things in the woman’s behavior: First, there was a closer well to which she could have gone. Secondly, women would come to get water early or late when it was cooler. This woman was probably forced to go further and to go at mid-day to avoid contact with the “proper” women.

Think about her situation. Women had no power. She hadn’t divorced one husband after another and moved from one to the next and the next and the next. She didn’t move from man to man. She was discarded by one after another. Now, she’s living with someone. He’s not her husband. And that’s not necessarily because she had no standards, but because no one cared about her. With her reputation,
David Hamlin
November 1, 2006
great ideas in the message
Kenneth Macari of Edison Community Presbyterian Chruch
October 24, 2006
this is very helpful Thank you